Usability test of microwave

What did I do?

In class, I learned about and brainstormed ideas of usability test. After that, I did a usability test of a water bottle with my classmate.

Our real project is testing the usability of microwave so we designed a experiment based on what we learned from testing the water bottle and on Friday, we invited three friends to my house and give them three tasks to do in order to collect three types of data which including both quantitative and qualitative ones. The whole process is seamless because I have such an efficient partner. The video of our final findings and reflections will be provided below.

Sharing thoughts about what we learned from water bottle testing
Discussion time with my partner

Reflection time

Our first participant has some experience using the microwave we used for the test so he did way better than other two participants. Therefore, the inconsistency of knowledge of our participants may make our findings biased. Also, I found that participants are nervous under the experiment setting. It is understandable because people were holding camera toward you and speak to you in a serious tone. The negative part is that the pressure could make participants act poorly compared to real life. So in the future, I may try to make the setting as natural as possible and make our participants have similar knowledge of the products we test.

What did I like about this project?

This project is very practical and related to my daily life. I had difficult time using the microwave in my kitchen and after the test, I know that the design of the microwave does have problems. It is basically an over complicated and not so user friendly microwave. Also, It is exciting that even for novice like me can conduct simple test to find the poor user experience of a product on market.

Why my work is important?

People do not think enough about the user experience makes my work and similar work important. It is shocking to see products produced by large corporations have poor user experiences. If they do better tests of user experience, they probably can build better images of the company and definitely more profits. Apple Inc. will be a good example. I love Apple’s products because it is so easy and feels so good to use. And I believe Apple Inc. conducts lots of usability tests from packaging to feelings of holding their products. Also, it could make people’s life easier. Like for the microwave we tested, it is hard for people to use and have many redundant functions to make it an overly complicated device. It makes sense it will be harder for elders to use because natural declines of learning abilities. In a sense, bad user experience and designs are humanitarian problems and we need to think more to fix them.

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